Northwood Civic Association Meeting

Over 30 people attended the Northwood Civic meeting Tuesday night.  Camera man from NBC channel 10 was also on hand.  Tim Wisniewski represented the Frankford Civic association.  Karen Phillips of Councilman Darrell Clarke’s office also attended.

One announcement of interest was that there will be a spaghetti dinner benefit this Saturday, January 23rd, at 5 PM in the gymnasium at St. Martins for the family whose home was destroyed in a fire at 957 Dyre Street.

The meeting was dominated by discussion of 4871 Roosevelt Boulevard which was purchased by Volunteers of America.  As it turns out, the purchase was funded by a city agency, Community Behavioral Health. Barry Howell lead the discussion.

Below is a video of about 8 minutes with the highlights of the meeting.



  • Gary

    Community Behavioral Health is a City Agency. It is also referred to as the Dept. of Behavioral Health which is headed by Arthur Evans (215-685-4736). Mr. Evans was appointed by Mayor Nutter and answers to Mayor Nutter (215-686-2181). The neighbors of Northwood need to contact Mayor Nutter and Councilman Clarke (215-686-3442 or 3443) to stop the Volunteers of America from doing business at 4871 Roosevelt Blvd. The City (Nutter and Clarke) need to move this facility to an area that is not Deed Restricted.

    ThE decision to house the Volunteers of America and provide funding at 4871 Roosevelt Blvd. was a mIstake on the part of City of Philadelphia and it broke the Deed Restriction.

    MAKE MAYOR NUTTER AND COUNCILMAN CLARKE ACCOUNTABLE!

    CALL OR FAX THEM AT THEIR OFFICE TO TELL THEM “NO” TO ALLOWING VOLUNTEERS OF AMERICA TO DO BUSINESS IN NORTHWOOD.

    MAYOR NUTTER 215-686-2181
    MAYOR NUTTER’S CHIEF OF STAFF CLAY ARMBRISTER 215-686-7508
    ARTHUR EVANS, DIRECTOR OF THE DEPT. OF BEHAVIORAL HEALTH 215-685-4736
    COUNCILMAN CLARKE 215-686-3442, 215-686-3443 OR FAX HIM AT 215-686-1901

  • Sue

    4871 Roosevelt Blvd is in Northwood which is a deed restricted neighborhood. Single family dwellings are only allowed in Northwood per the Northwood Deed Restriction. This will be stopped, even if it takes a lawsuit from the Northwood Civic Association. The City of Philadelphia needs to be responsible and pull the funding to the Volunteers of America at this address. In the long run, it is going to cost the Volunteers of America and the City of Philadelphia money it does not have. Be smart and responsible Mr. Mayor and pull the funding.

  • NCA President Emeritus

    Volunteers of America Delaware Valley – 4871 Roosevelt Blvd., has been discussed for several months at several meetings:
    http://gloomyhappy.wpengine.com/2010/01/21/northwood-civic-association-meeting-10/
    http://gloomyhappy.wpengine.com/2010/02/17/northwood-civic-meeting-centers-on-lawsuits/
    http://gloomyhappy.wpengine.com/2010/04/21/northwood-civic-meeting-4/

    They are now in Northwood and operating:

    Volunteers of America Delaware Valley – 4871 Roosevelt Blvd. Phila , PA , 19124; on the other side of the Boulevard: – 5002 Roosevelt Boulevard
    http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&biw=1354&bih=635&q=Volunteers+of+America+Roosevelt+Boulevard&btnG=Search&aq=f&aqi=&aql=&oq=&gs_rfai=

    It’s a wonder why no one has brought it up at the NCA meeting, as there has been no report since it was emphatically declared at some of their meetings that they paid an attorney and were going to court to fight this? 

    Unfortunately, Civic Associations have NO STANDING to challenge anything in a Court of the Commonwealth.

    From my records, here is the Northwood Case History:

    At the Northwood Civic Association Meeting of June 19, 2007 – the association voted upon and refused to appeal a ZBA decision to grant a zoning variance for the legalization of a store operating within Northwood.

    Two days latter, in an e-mail, NCA Director Michael Bane most serendipitously justified the Civic Association’s failure to do so by stating:

    “. . . As for the store at 4601 Horrocks Street, the NCA has no legal standing to challenge the Zoning Board’s decision in court because of Act 193.”

    Historical Notes on Act 193:

    Formerly called  HB 1954, Governor Rendell signed Act 193 of 2004 into law. It included a stealth amendment which changed the long existing right of “Philadelphia taxpayers” to challenge Zoning Board decisions. Act 193 threatened to limit the rights of community groups and civic associations to appeal decisions of not only the ZBA but all other city agencies that regulate land use, including the Historical Commission.

    Mr. Bane was absolutely correct – well almost; as the case of “Taxpayer Standing” had not yet been decided in the courts. That would take almost two more years. See:

    Argued December 2, 2008
    Decided August 18, 2009

    CHIEF JUSTICE CASTILLE – OPINION
    http://www.aopc.org/OpPosting/Supreme/out/J-160A-D-2008mo.pdf

    JUSTICE SAYLOR – Dissenting Opinion
    http://www.aopc.org/OpPosting/Supreme/out/J-160A-D-2008do.pdf

    JUSTICE BAER Concurring and Dissenting Opinion
    http://www.aopc.org/OpPosting/Supreme/out/J-160A-D-2008cdo.pdf

    “In an August 18th decision that holds significant potential for economic revitalization throughout Philadelphia, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court in Gary Spahn v. Zoning Board of Adjustment et. al., Society Created to Reduce Urban Blight, et. al.,Zoning Board of Adjustment of the City of Philadelphia, et.al., Nos. 25, 26, & 27 EAP 2008, Argued December 2, 2008, J-160A-D-2008, Supreme Ct. of Pa., Eastern District, affirmed the Commonwealth Court’s prior holding that persons challenging zoning variances in Philadelphia to have substantial, direct and immediate interests in the zoning matter at issue.
    In a 4-2 Opinion, authored by Chief Justice Ronald D. Castille, the Supreme Court allowed governing bodies (such as Philadelphia City Council) and persons “detrimentally harmed” by zoning decisions to appeal. However, the Supreme Court leveled the judicial standing playing field and required persons challenging Philadelphia zoning decisions to meet the same standing requirements as citizens throughout Pennsylvania. . . .” http://www.elliottgreenleaf.com/Aug2009-2.html

    Philadelphia Civic Associations have lost their bite.

    When Civic Associations approve various construction projects – City Council members (and other politicians) will usually attend these affairs for the the photo shoot and the feel good press release that follow.

    City Council Members will even use the local civic associations to sign petitions in support of various projects & are encouraged to attend the ZBA hearings showing community support &etc.

    But if there is a disagreement; developers can use and and have used Act 193 to restrict a Civic Association (having no taxpayer standing) to even appear before the ZBA and other agencies.

    Usually if a Civic need their elected official for a hot button issue, the Councilmen and all their “community support” will have evaporated. They will become the hardest person to find and will be a “no show” at the Civic meetings. Local Civic’s have become a rubber stamp that provided “services” to City Council Members.

    When a Civic association starts accepting money from a potential enemy – it becomes akin to being a paid whore – never again can they say NO!  They lost that right forever. Case in point:

    The CTCA is quietly buying up Northwood and surrounding areas (the Beer Dist. at Castor & Wingohockin being demolished for an office building – no permits or zoning hearing) and turning the area into a one big Commercial venture – Just interlopers taking good care of their stockholders, nothing personal.

    The Northwood Civic Association accepted money from the Cancer Treatment Centers of America, and have been silent ever since. Can they afford to return the money, lest they be accused of taking a bribe or being bought off? 

    Poor Peggy Hoch & Frankford Civic- her good nature was exploited when she accepted money & she became aware too late – after she approved a Drug Rehabilitation Center.

    The reason why a Civic must say No – to all commercial ventures – is to retain & preserve their right to say NO! 

    You cannot pick & choose – you must oppose all non-conforming zoning by taking it to a hearing & appeal. You take your chances at winning or losing – but at least you fight.

    That was before Act 193 was upheld by the State Supreme Court.

    It’s a moot case now.

    J.M.